Yesterday LinkedIn made a broad set of announcements including a new User Interface, additional features like a news Feed, and more details on their new developer APIs and Platform. The API will be phased in over the next few months and we've created our initial LinkedIn API Profile here. It looks like a full-featured platform and as LinkedIn's Lucian Beebe described yesterday in a post entitled LinkedIn's Intelligent Application Platform, there will be two primary models for developing LinkedIn applications:
- Bring LinkedIn to your application. Using LinkedIn APIs and widgets, you will be able to integrate LinkedIn into your application by accessing information from a LinkedIn user’s network. Using this model, you can augment your web site with LinkedIn features, creating more utility on your site and the chance to stand out from the crowd.
- Bring your application to LinkedIn. You will be able to write professionally-oriented applications that run inside LinkedIn.com for maximum visibility in a purely business network. We have announced support for Google’s OpenSocial platform and will add other models in the future.
The first lets users "take their LinkedIn network with them" in a approach like most web APIs including the original Facebook API, or, as Marc Andreessen might describes it: a "level 1 access API". The second model is similar to the Facebook Platform, or a "level 2 plug-in API", that will build on Google's OpenSocial standards.
Given that there are about 17 million members now and about 1 million more each month, There going to be lots of interesting ways developers can build value on top of this platform. One of the first partners is BusinessWeek who will use the API to embed links within content that allows you to click on a company name and see who you are connected to via LinkedIn.